- Tea is one of the most popular and lowest cost beverages in the world, next only to water. Tea is consumed by a wide range of age groups in all levels of society. More than three billion cups of tea are consumed daily worldwide. Tea is considered to be a part of the huge global beverage market, not to be seen in isolation just as a "commodity". Africa, South America, the Near East and especially the Asian regions produces a varied range of teas, this, together with a reputation in the international markets for high quality, has resulted in Asia enjoying a share of every importing market in the world. Huge populations in Asia, Middle East, Africa, UK, EU, and countries of the CIS consume tea regularly and throughout the day.
- World tea consumption grew by 1% in 2006, reaching 3.64 million tonnes, but less than the annual average of 2.7% over the previous decade. The biggest influence has been the growth in agricultural products consumption, tea included, in China and India, as their economies expanded dramatically. In 2006, China recorded a spectacular annual increase of 13.6% in total consumption, which reached 776,900 tonnes. In 2008, world tea prices are expected to maintain their upward trend as a result of a tight supply on the world market exacerbated by a projected 10 percent decrease in Kenyan production due to civil unrest.
- World tea production grew by more than 3 percent to reach an estimated 3.6 million tonnes in 2006. The expansion was due to another record crop in China with 1.05 million tonnes - an increase of 9.5 percent over the record established in 2005 - and a record 28 percent increase in output in Viet Nam which pulled its production up to 133 000 tonnes.
- Some of the largest commercial traders of black tea globally are: Unilever - Lipton, PG Tips (Multinational); Associated British Foods - Twinings (UK); Tata Tea - Tetley (India); Teekanne Group (Germany). In China, the country with the largest planting of tea and second in output, green tea is around half of the total export, black tea around one third and other teas one fifth. Depending on the manufacturing technique it may be described as green, black, oolong, white, yellow and compressed tea. FAO projections to 2017 indicate that world green tea production is expected to grow at a considerably faster rate than black tea, 4.5 % annually compared to 1.9 % for black tea.
- A brewed cup of tea contains a moderate amount of caffeine, volatile oils, tannin and several B-complex vitamins. The flavour of tea is produced by these volatile oils, while astringency and colour come from tannin. A cup of tea can contain as low as four calories, a low-energy beverage. With sugar and milk this rises to 40 calories. Six cups of tea with sugar and milk will add only 240 calories to the diet but also 10% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for B-complex vitamins. Black tea can yield an amber-coloured, full-flavoured liquid without bitterness.
Top 5 facts sources: a. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, b. Alastair Hicks: Current Status and Future Development of Global Tea Production and Tea Products (Paper compiled and presented to the International Conference on Tea Production and Tea Products, held at Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 26-28th November 2008.)